The stories of those on the frontlines of the pandemic



Another group of everyday heroes to be recognized during this coronavirus pandemic are those essential workers who serve us at our gas stations/food marts. These individuals exemplify one of the principles of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Flint by putting themselves on the line for the collective good of all and making us stronger together.

One such person is Dorie, who has worked at her job for seven years and, therefore, knows the business extremely well. She says one of the greatest challenges is creating a balance between meeting necessary guidelines and restrictions while maintaining the functionality of doing business and still offering positive customer service.

This means the burden of wearing masks and gloves during the whole shift, having a barrier between her and the customer at the cash register which sometimes makes verbal communication difficult, as well as the extra work of frequent cleaning and sanitizing of the store area and the gas pump handles, has certainly added to her job description.

At the beginning of the pandemic there was an expectation that the workers would enforce the requirement of wearing masks to enter the store. After a few disagreeable customers, it was apparent that this was something that Dorie was unable and unwilling to do.

Management quickly changed the policy and a sign was put on the door saying it was a state mandate to wear a mask and workers were only required to ask customers to comply.

There are sometimes complaints made to her by customers that another customer is not wearing a mask or observing an appropriate distance and she explains that is something they need to address themselves.

Keeping a pleasant rapport with her customers is very important to Dorie. She said she has seen much more sadness and frustration in her customers that is sometimes taken out on her. She says she tries to just keep smiling. Over the years she said she has gotten to know many of the customers quite well.

She said she feels especially bad for the restaurant workers who have been financially devastated by the loss of work. She is grateful to still have her job and one that she has always enjoyed. She makes sure she takes all the necessary precautions to not contract the coronavirus, but she has a very strong faith that carries her through and helps her to stay positive.

Dorie does not see herself as a hero, feeling that the healthcare workers, first responders and our police officers deserve that title. However, Dorie, we feel that you, too, should be acknowledged and we thank you for your contribution and helping this community to get through these trying times

Hometown Heroes is a feature about people who are making a difference in the ongoing COVID- 19 pandemic, presented by the Unitarian Universalist Church, 2474 S. Ballenger Hwy., in Flint Township.